In November of 2008 Spanish artist Miquel BarcelÃ³ completed an installation for the UN for the newly created Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Chamber in Geneva. Oh, and it’s wicked sick. Just look at this thing – it’s ridiculous. Being in that space must be like having a Jackson Pollock painting dripping on you…my ninjas, please.
Miquel BarcelÃ³â€™s work often features natural elements and imagery but the chamberâ€™s ceiling takes this idea literally by recreating the natural stalactite forms, albeit through the artistâ€™s lens. BarcelÃ³ has revealed that the concept for the project came to him while he was in Africa. at the unveiling BarcelÃ³ explained, â€˜on a day of immense heat in the middle of the Sahel desert, I recall with vivacity the mirage of an image of the world dripping toward the skyâ€™. the vivid idea later took shape as he planned out the work.
Paul Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, and David Lewis]
The following text [and the video above – just click to play, or click here if it won’t play for you] was taken from the Architeture League NY website. If you haven’t checked out their podcasts, you’re missing out my ninjas.
13:100 | Thirteen New York Architects Design for Ordos
The Ordos 100 is a new residential development in the city of Ordos, Inner Mongolia, China. One hundred emerging architects from around the world have each been invited to design a 10,700 square foot villa on lots ranging from a quarter to a half acre. With a master plan by artist Ai Weiwei and architect selection by Herzog & de Meuron, the Ordos 100 challenges conventional ideas about urban design, placemaking, and context. Criticized by some for its scale and environmental impact, applauded by others as a form of art practice, Ordos underscores and intensifies the complexities of contemporary architectural practice.
The Architectural League presents projects by the thirteen New York-based architects participating in the Ordos 100 in the current exhibition 13:100 | Thirteen New York Architects Design for Ordos, on view through November 26, 2008. For this exhibition, interviews were conducted with the participating architects, to allow them to describe in their own words their experiences working in Ordos and how they feel about it now that the design phase has come to an end. Audio excerpts are included in the exhibition installation; extended video interviews are available below.
From the artist:
“Mauritian Sunset” was made for the ‘Great Artspectations’ exhibition at The Embassy Gallery in Edinburgh. A relatively small gallery, and another 2 artists to share the space with, meant that the work had to be as self contained as possible. As the gallery also had large windows, letting in light which could ruin the soft lighting effects of the work, the wall had to be as ‘perfect’ and light-proof as possible.
The resulting wall stretched accross the centre of the main room of the gallery, wall to wall and floor to ceiling, the rear of the computers facing the windows onto the street. A small doorway was built into the wall, only five and a half foot tall, and two foot wide. The monitors facing forwards showed flat colour, working over the wall to create a rough gradient representation of a classic sunset.
The pavilion is designed, as a piece of Copenhagenâ€™s bicycle track, tied as a knot. 1500 city bikes located at the roof scape, offer our Chinese hosts a chance to experience the Danish urban way. Thus, when you arrive to Expo, you visit Denmark, get a bike and explore the rest of the world!
- Bjarke Ingels
An AMNP favorite, the Bjarke Ingels Group [BIG] has been chosen as the winner of a design competition for the Danish Pavilion at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai. Designed in collaboration with 2+! and Arup, the Danish Pavilion is described as “a loop, a velodrome, and an interactive fairytale”.
In response to the theme of the expo – “Better City – Better Life” – the pavilion will celebrate various aspects of Danish culture, with an emphasis on the environment. The structure itself is a velodrome, housing bicycles that will be available for public use – both encouraging a ‘green’ alternative to driving, while promoting a popular aspect of Danish culture.
The Danish pavilion should not only exhibit the Danish virtues. Through interaction, the visitors are able to actually experience some of Copenhagenâ€™s best attractions â€“ the city bike, the harbor bath, the nature playground and an ecological picnic.
- Niels Lund Petersen, associate @ BIG
The pavilion will also contain the exhibition “Wellfairytales” in a linear sequence, depicting [I believe] various Danish fairy tales, including that of the ‘Little Mermaid‘. Additionally, the mermaid herself will be transported to Shangahi for the expo – along with a large tank of water from a Danish harbor, in which visitors can take a quick dip. As a means to further encourage international exchange, 3 different Chinese artists will exhibit work in Denmark in place of the Mermaid while she’s away.
The purpose of moving The Little Mermaid is to show that open-mindedness doesnâ€™t necessarily cause you to lose origin or culture. Typically, national symbols are static â€“ a fortress or a tower which is unshakable. Lately, Denmarkâ€™s image as a tolerant and open-minded country has been at stake in the global media-scape. The perception of a nation, with a national symbol so dynamic that it can be moved to China for 6 months is a great way of showing that Denmark is still open-minded and liberal towards the rest of the world.
…speaking of sustainability, it is considerably more resource efficient moving The Little Mermaid to China, than moving 1.3 billion Chinese to Copenhagen.
“Both Shanghai and Copenhagen are harbor cities. But in Denmark the polluted harbor activities have been replaced by harbor parks and cultural institutions, and the water is so pure that you can swim in it. In the heart of the pavilion you find the Mermaid pool, which is filled with sea water from Copenhagenâ€™s harbor , brought to Shanghai on a tanker. The Chinese guest can swim in the pool, and not only hear about clean water, but feel and taste it. The sculptor Edvard Eriksenâ€™s original Mermaid, will visit China, as a specific example of the pavilion offering a real experience of Danish urban life.”
Additionally, I’m fairly certain that the pattern spiraling around the pavilion forms the Copenhagen skyline – which will look pretty siiick when lit-up at night.
::All images, info and quotes courtesy of BIG. AMNP thanks to Jennifer at BIG for the press release::
Currently exhibited at SCI-Arc, the Voussoir Cloud is a collaborative installation by San Francisco based IwamotoScott Architecture, Buro Happold, and SCI-Arc students. The design is an exploration of “potentially conflicting constructional logics â€“ the pure compression of a vault with an ultra-light sheet material”, which makes for a pretty siiick effect.
And now, the technical explanation of why it’s cool:
Voussoirs, the wedge shaped masonry blocks that make up an arch, are redefined in Voussoir Cloud using a system of three-dimensional modules formed by folding paper thin wood laminate along curved seams. The curvature produces a form that relies on the internal surface tension to hold its shape and allows for a structural porosity within the constraints of sheet material. The resulting dimpled, concave modules pack together; naturally creating vaulted forms with a light porous surface. The form-finding exploration of the whole is thus dependent on the geometric performance of the individual units and their relation to the gallery walls.
So, to all our Left-Coast ninjas: go check it out [now through Sept. 14th], and let us know if how it is in person – and hit us with some photos!
“Tired of seeing the abandoned eyesore on a daily basis, artist Jennifer Marsh decided to cover this old gas station in 5,000 square feet of fabric.
With the help of professional and amateur artists from 15 countries and more than 2,500 grade-school students in 29 states, Marsh covered the 50-year-old former Citgo station â€” pumps, light stands, signs and all â€” with more than 3,000 fiber panels that are crocheted, knitted, quilted or stitched together.”
[Image: Public Mobile Library]
One thing that AMNP loves about Ivan Hernandez Quintela of Ludens [our first featured 'ninja of the month'] is that he’s working to solve problems that the rest of us may not even realize we face daily. Our relationship with public space and each other, as well as our day-to-day interaction with the physical environment are investigated by Ivan in a way that forces you to think about seemingly typical situations in new ways. Through what he calls ‘Aikido Architecture’ [in true ninja fashion], Ivan’s ‘Urban Prosthetics‘ attempt to appropriate public space for the user through adaptation and reinvention – using small architectural gestures to change our perception of public space – and activate that space for the public. Here we feature three examples that Ivan has provided of his ‘Urban Prosthetics’.
Shown above, the Public Mobile Library was designed as part of the Plataforma Art Festival.
The public mobile library is informal reading space capable of being moved into different parts of the city. Its main faÃ§ade is a pivoting structure that as it comes down onto the ground, it becomes its access stair but also its main area for seating and resting.
The library – seemingly a simple box on wheels – is constructed on two sides [and roof] with woven white plastic strips meant to diffuse light as it enters the reading space contained within. Of the remaining sides, one is a built-in wooden bookshelf – the back/exterior of which serves as a public bulletin board – and the other folds down to create both the stairs to enter the ‘itinerant library‘ and outdoor seating for readers – freeing users from the typically static, stuffy confines of a traditional library. The ‘library’ is now the city itself.
[Image: Black Box]
The black box is a structure whose interior is painted with blackboard paint. In it, I painted a small instruction letting the users know they can draw or write on it and left a box of chalk inside. The idea is that the black box becomes a public theatre, a frame for activity, where the people who enter it and draw on it become the spectacle.
[Image: Unstable Obstacle]
The ‘unstable obstacle’ is a great example of the way in which Ivan looks at social interaction in public space through his work. What better way to change the way we perceive public space than by creating situations where users must communicate with one another – designing a structure that changes with each additional user.
The unstable obstacle is a flimsy boat-like bench where as people sit on it, they must take into consideration where other people are sitting – for if they not sit in relation to the others in order to keep the structure in balance, the structure [will] flip. The more people [who] use the structure, the more stable it becomes.
Plus, Ivan suggests completely different uses for the structure if it is simply flipped-over – as temporary shelter for the homeless, or perhaps even some kind of skateboarding obstacle.
View more of Ivan’s ‘Urban Prosthetics‘ at Ludens’ home page – and be sure to head back to AMNP next week for the following installement of NotM: Ludens, entitled ‘Inhabitable Toys’.
::the projects featured in this post were selected and images provided by Ivan Hernandez Quintela of Ludens – along with any quoted text::
Time-lapse video of the construction of the 2008 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, designed by Frank Gehry.
The spectacular structure — designed and engineered in collaboration with Arup — is anchored by four massive steel columns and is comprised of large timber planks and a complex network of overlapping glass planes that create a dramatic, multi-dimensional space. Gehry and his team took inspiration for this year’s Pavilion from a fascinating variety of sources including the elaborate wooden catapults designed by Leonardo da Vinci as well as the striped walls of summer beach huts. Part-amphitheatre, part-promenade, these seemingly random elements make a transformative place for reflection and relaxation by day, and discussion and performance by night.
Production Company: General
Filmed & Edited by Ben Magahy and James Simpson
Accompanied by Frank’s Build, 2008, by Simon Fisher Turner, a composition produced by randomly recording the construction of the Pavilion.
::via Serpentine Gallery::
Alright, so that’s not exactly what happened – but it is pretty f#$ked-up looking right now.
In reality, The Storefront for Art & Architecture is undergoing a renovation of the Vito Acconci and Steven Holl designed facade + interior – and should re-open in the fall. Until then, you ninjas with some spare do-re-mi might think about hitting them with a donation so that they can continue bringing us all the architectural goodness.
And any of you in the UK for the London Festival of Architecture [which starts June 20th] can check out Pop-up Storefront London â€“ The BIG CPH Experiment, Storefront’s temporary Engligh outpost.